How to Restore Cast Iron Pans


Cast iron pans will last for generations and actually get better with use and age. They cook food evenly, are non-stick and durable. They do not have non-stick coating that can peel off. Special utensils are not required, warping is not a problem and cleaning them is a cinch. Regardless of how bad of shape or rusty the cast iron pan looks, do not throw it away. It just needs restoring or reseasoning. It is a basic process accomplished with little effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild dishwashing soap
  • Plastic scrubber
  • Towel
  • Paper towel
  • Oven
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking pan
  • Fill the sink with 2 to 3 inches of warm water and a mild dishwashing soap. Place the cast iron pan into the soapy water.

  • Using a plastic scrubber (not steel wool), scrub the entire pan to remove rust and other cooked on-debris. Rinse the pan and scrub again if heavy rust is still present after the first cleaning.

  • Rinse the cast iron pan with water, removing any soap residue. Thoroughly dry the pan with a cloth.

  • Rub a light coating of a vegetable oil such as coconut, canola or sunflower over the entire pan. Coat the inside and outside of the cast iron pan as well as the pan's handle.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet large enough to hold the cast iron pan with aluminum foil.

  • Place the cast iron pan upside down on the baking sheet and place it inside the oven. Bake for one hour. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool before wiping off any excess oil with a paper towel.

  • Repeat the oiling and baking procedure again if the pan still shows signs of rust. The more times the cast iron pan is seasoned, the smoother and more non-stick its cooking surface becomes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always store cast iron dry, as moisture creates rust. Place paper towels, paper plates or coffee filters between multiple pans for the absorption of moisture.
  • You can use cast iron pans without fear of damage in the oven, on the stove top, grill, over a campfire and packed inside hot coals.
  • Putting cast iron pans in the dishwasher removes its seasoning, causing rust to develop.
  • Do not clean cast iron with metallic scrubbers or harsh chemicals, as they can remove the seasoning, causing the pan to rust.
  • Always wipe excess oil from the pan before storing, as the oil can turn rancid.

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  • Photo Credit Rusted Cast Iron Skillets on Shed image by Katrina Miller from
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